1840 $2.50 PCGS AU58 CAC

This numismatically significant issue (it is the first Liberty Head quarter eagle from the Philadelphia mint) is a scarce and misunderstood date. There were 18,859 produced but the survival rate is quite low with maybe as few as 150-200 known. It is usually seen in VF-EF grades and the few that are known in Uncirculated come from a small hoard found in the 1990's that contained some superb frosty pieces in the MS62 to MS64 range. In the higher circulated grades, this date is rare and extremely underrated especially with original color and surfaces. This is the first 1840 quarter eagle I can recall having seen with deep, attractive color and the rich reddish-gold and green-gold hues that rest on both signs are just marvelous. This coin has no real wear, just some slight friction from numismatic handling and its eye appeal is off the charts. If you go strictly by auction records and price guides, this coin is going to seem expensive but it is one of just two graded by PCGS in AU58 and the other, ex Bass II: 321, brought $3,451 all the way back in 1999. I really like this coin and if I were a collector with a budget of around $5,000 per item, this is exactly what I would be buying.

This is the only CAC approved 1840 quarter eagle in AU58. There is one finer: an MS64.

1840 Narrow Mill $5.00 PCGS MS62+ CAC

This numismatically significant issue is the first Liberty Head half eagle to feature the second use of the Liberty Head design. While very common in lower grades, the 1840 (which is found with a Narrow Mill and Broad Mill variety) is scarce in Uncirculated and it becomes genuinely rare in properly graded MS62 and above. This fresh-to-the-market example is amongst the best 1840 half eagles that I have seen in years with exquisite green-gold and orange color atop very choice frosty surfaces which clearly have never been cleaned or brightened. The reverse shows a bold, bisecting crack that begins at the right side of the A in STATES, goes through the eagle and ends at the right side of the V in FIVE. A few wispy lines in the obverse fields narrowly keep this coin from a higher grade but its level of eye appeal is really off the charts and it would make a fantastic No Motto type coin for someone who wants a piece that is truly "special." This is the only 1840 half eagle in MS62 to have been given a "plus" designation by PCGS and it is the nicest example of this date that I have personally seen since the Heritage 3/06: 1853 coin (ex Pittman/Farouk/Green) that sold for $43,125 in an NGC MS65 holder.

1840 $2.50 NGC MS60

This numismatically significant issue represents the very first quarter eagle struck with the new Liberty Head design at the Philadelphia mint. The 1840 was not saved in any quantity and it is seldom seen above EF45 to AU50. In fact, until the discovery of a small group of MS63 to MS64 examples in the mid-1990's, the 1840 quarter eagle was essentially unavailable in Uncirculated (with the exception of the Bass-Garrett example which is now in a PCGS MS64 holder). The present example is fresh and would grade at least a point or two higher if it were not for some weakness of strike which is fairly pronounced at the centers. The surfaces are slightly scuffy but have warm, rich golden-orange and greenish color which are indicative of this piece never having been dipped or lightened. It would be an interesting to combine this coin with a high grade 1840 half eagle and eagle and assemble a three piece "first year of issue" Liberty Head gold trio.

1840 $5.00 PCGS AU50

Narrow Mill variety. Graded at PCGS' Paris offices (or "Le PCGS" as I call it...) and a lovely dark green example with a very fresh appearance. While not a really rare coin, the 1840 Narrow Mill is hard to find with natural color and it is historically significant as the first Liberty Head half eagle with the modified design.